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Baked Apple Chai (formerly Spiced Apple) is potpourri for all the senses. It starts with the  aroma of rich spices long associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas: cinnamon, chicory, cardamom and star anise. It filled the kitchen where it was steeping, and it made my mouth water.

Star anise is often used as an exotic spice in Indian and Chinese cooking. It is rich in antioxidants, and vitamins A and C, all of which help with coughs and colds, and a number of digestive issues.

 The colour is a rich amber, like apple cider. The tea itself is quite chunky with dehydrated apple and figs, whole star anise, and cardamom pods. The flavour was sweet with deep tangy notes from the fruit, followed by the heat of cinnamon and clove, and the slightly bitter and herbaceous zing of the star anise.

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.
– Mother Theresa

This caffeine-free fruit infusion steeps for a minimum of 5 minutes in water that is 95C. If you tend to “eyeball” the amount of tea by judging the height of the leaves in your infuser, be generous. Since the tea is comprised of chunky pieces, it will fill the infuser quickly. I didn’t use enough at first and I was left with a weak apple tea with mild spice. Also, use an infuser that will allow the fruit to expand as it steeps in order to extract the most flavour! As with many teas that use cinnamon, you may have some residue settle at the bottom of your cup. I figure, that’s just part of the experience of loose tea.

Apple Chai-ed

Otherwise, this was a mildly spicy “hug in a mug”, perfect for a crisp Fall afternoon.

Happy Thanksgiving!